Why krya recommends A2 Cow Ghee for Good Skin and Great Hair

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The Ayurvedic Recommendation :

Based on Ayurvedic texts, krya recommends regular dietary use of Desi A2 cow ghee for all prakritis. When we say “desi ghee” we usually refer to ghee made from the milk & curd of indigenous Indian cow breeds,  with a prominent “hump” on their shoulder . Theseindigenous breeds are derived from the primary strain of “Zebu cattle” , descended from Indian Aurochs.


Approximately 268 – 232 BC – representation of Zebu cattle on Rampurva Capital of the Pillars of Ashoka, excavated in Rampurva-West Champaran District, Bihar

 

What is commonly available today ?

What is available commonly today is A1 milk, curd and ghee. A1 milk is derived from the European version of Bos, which migrated away from the Asian and African heartland close to 4000 years ago. This species developed a slightly different version of Beta casein in the Milk which is now called A1 beta casein, as opposed to A2 Beta casein found in Indian indigenous cattle.

Why we recommend desi A2 Milk ?

As per Ayurveda and recent research, A2 milk is easier to process and digest by our bodies. In practice, we have found that A2 milk is usually less fatty, causes less bloating and digestive discomfort, and exhibits all the properties of Milk we have studied as per Ayurveda.

Issues with Commercial dairy farming and A1 Milk

When we buy Dairy from large conglomerates, they follow a collection + aggregation model . Here Milk is sourced from small dairy farmers with any breed of cow or buffalo , mixed together, homogenised to follow government
standards of fat percentage and then sold as toned milk, full fat milk, etc.
This is the case for all major co-operative dairy conglomerates across India.

• Milk is sourced from different kinds of daily cattle and mixed together: so we have desi (A2), foreign (jersey – A1), hybrid (desi+jersey), buffalo, and sometimes goats milk being mixed together . The properties of each of these are different and will have a different effect on the body. Depending upon the mixture we get, the body may accept it better or it may not.

• As Dairy farmers are rewarded for fat percentage of Milk (higher cost paid for higher milk fat), they are incentivised to replace lean indigenous breeds with foreign breeds which are naturally high in fat. Again to conserve milk fat, they restrict the animal’s movement and can feed the Animal high fat and unsuitable diet in order to extract high fat milk.

• Unnatural, cruel dairy farming practices: To extract maximum yield from Cows, dairy farmers unnecessarily induce lactation through hormone injections. The animals are often kept in crowded and unsanitary conditions leading to diseases and antibiotic injections. As the animal is subjected to so much strain, her natural life comes down to half.

• End user contamination: Often due to the presence of a very large cold-chain, on and off there is adulteration of Milk – Urea, Detergent powder, etc are used to preserve milk for a few days till it reaches you

Ayurvedic recommednation on sourcing Milk

Milk must be sourced from a farm where the animals are treated well. When we take Milk from a cow, we are taking a portion of food that she has produced for her calf. So we incur a Karmic debt towards the Cow and her Calf. We must ensure that we treat the Cow and her Calf well, look after their health and ensure they live happily with us to reduce that Karmic debt slightly. Hence these practices are specified in Ayurveda

• Milk must be taken after the calf has had her full
• Cow must not be subjected to extended lactation period simply to get more Milk out of her
• Cow and calf must be housed in clean, hygienic and pleasing environment
• Cow and calf must both be healthy and willing to spare excess Milk. We must not take milk from a cow who has lost her calf, or whose Calf is sick.
• Cow and calf must be allowed to graze and eat their normal diet. We must not give them food that is not suitable to them and which makes them ill (both are common practices in commercial dairy practice).
• As far as possible, we must take Milk from locally available breeds – their fat content and other nutrient parameters are most suitable for the climatic conditions we live in.
• We must source Raw, unpasteurised cow’s milk which we then boil at home as per prevalent Ayurvedic practice. Hence it is “cooked” for the first time when it reaches us.
• Dairy is precious. It is made by a Mother from her dhatus for us. We must use it as necessary and should not over indulge in it or waste it.

What to look for when sourcing Desi A2 Ghee ?

If you look at the above, it is ideal to make your own Desi A2 ghee from the Milk you buy everyday from a farm that you know of personally. This is a process – many of Us may not be there as yet. So here are some guidelines to determine whether the Ghee you are planning to buy is physically and spiritually correct for you and your family

• How are the Cows treated: A conversation / visit should have you enquiring about the health of the cows. Please remember sourcing ghee from badly treated cows is going to increase your spiritual / karmic debt. Ayurveda tells us that all food is endowed with “gunas” or spiritual qualities. The state of the people making the food, the state of the cow are both important to source truly good ghee. Therefore, it is preferable to source from smal local dairy farms or gaushalas which you can trust, to source ghee & milk.

• Milk – Ghee ratio: It takes about 30-36 litres of Desi A2 Milk to make 1 Kg of Desi A2 Ghee . This ratio is assuming normal fat proportion of Bos Indicus strains which is always lower than A1 strains. If you assume this ratio to be a factor in costing, Desi A2 Ghee should cost around Rs. 1200 – 1500 / Kg or more. Again costing depends upon many factors, primarily the fat percentage of the Milk produced by the Indigenous strain. Certain breeds like Gir and Red Sindhi have slightly higher fat percentage compared to certain strains like Kangeyam. So price will vary accordingly. If it costs less than Rs.700 / Kg, you should check whether it is actually Desi A2 cow ghee.

• How is the Ghee made: We are looking for Ghee to be made using the Ayurvedic method. Hence, Malai (cream) is taken out from Milk and stored. Curd starter is added to this Malai to make a thick curd. This is churned to extract Butter + Buttermilk (fat free chaas). This butter is then heated to make Ghee. This ghee is sweet, digestive, pitta balancing and chakshushya (good for the eyes). Many households also modify this process by adding Cream removed from curd along with Cream obtained from Milk – In this case, by the time we get to making butter, the cream has already become curd due to the presence of curd starter bacteria. Sometimes this can make the cream very smelly – so we recommend the first Method.

Generally if you use good quality A2 milk, you can make about 250 gm of ghee after saving Malai for 2 – 3 weeks.

How should Ghee look / taste and smell ?

Good quality ghee should have a characteristic pleasing, ruchi inducing aroma. It should not smell burned in any way (indicates that butter was excessively heated). It should be light and easy to absorb in your food.

Good quality A2 cow’s milk and ghee can have an excellent impact on your overall health and of course will help you build good skin and hair systems. It will be an excellent one-time investment of your time to switch to a good local brand so that you can ask the farmer all the relevant questions to re-assure yourself.

 

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The Krya Mini Abhyanga Guide : A Bridge to the Full Abhyanga

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On the Krya blog, we have consistently extolled the benefits of the Abhyanga Snana as a very important Dinacharya ( Daily Habit). All the classical Ayurvedic textbooks have clearly defined the wide range of health benefits of a regular Abhyanga-Snana.

The full Abhyanga Snana involves a vigorous head-to-toe oil self-massage followed by Snana with a herb based bath powder.  And the Ayurvedic Acharyas recommend that all healthy adults can have a daily Abhyanga.

The Need for a Mini-Abhyanga

The very thought of a Abhyanga-Snana seems extremely daunting to many of us who have a packed, hassled morning routine. A quick shower with soap and shampoo is the most that many of us can cotemplate on a week-day

We have received a large number of message from our customers on how to get over the initial time and scheduling hurdles to incorporate this important habit into their routine – hence this guide which introduces the Mini-Abhyanga.

The Krya Mini-Abhyanga Guide

A Mini-Abhyanga should take around 10 minutes, focuses on key body parts that suffer dosha-aggravation and gives a few of the benefits of the full Abhyanga. You just need a Abhyanga skin oil and an ubtan to get started and it is recommended for all healthy adults.

We have designed this Mini-Abhyanga as a bridge to the full , proper Ayurvedic Abhyanga Snana. It will help new comers to get started and experience some of the important health benefits and motivate them to graduate to a full Abhyanga. For the regulars, it will help you to incorporate a mini-abhyanga when you have less time or when you are travelling.

The Mini-Abhyanga is not meant to replace the full Abhyanga. You can read about the full Abhyanga here .

In this guide we have given the instructions for both men & women and the different precautions to be taken.

Download the Krya Mini Abhyanga Guide  & do use it realize the wonderful health benefits of this important Ayurvedic Dinacharya.

 

 

 

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What time to do an Abhyanga?

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We often speak at Krya about the health giving benefits about doing an Abhyanga. The question we are often asked is what time to do an abhyanga? Should abhyanga time be chosen by prakriti? This post will answer this question.

Choosing the right abhyanga time: body clock

Everything in Ayurveda is calibrated to the body clock which in turn has a strong correlation with the movement of the Sun. This clock varies subtly according to season, and also depends on whether the Sun is in Uttarayana or Adana Kala (travelling northwards or Southwards).

However, given these subtle variations, we can practically set our clock, by the body clock. The body will carry out its repair and re-set functions relentlessly during the day according to schedule.

So all things going well, our liver will proceed to re-calibrate and repair itself around 11 pm which is the second peak Pitta period. The liver is considered an organ of Agni , therefore strongly influenced by Pitta dosha in Ayurveda.

Brahma Muhurtham – second Vata peak, ideal for waking up

Similarly, we are advised to wake up in Brahma Muhurtha which is roughly 90 minutes before Sunrise which is smack in the middle of the second peak Vata period. Due to the increase in Vata in the body at this time, we can wake up without strain (if we have eaten and slept properly the previous way). The body is full of lightness and mobile energy at this time influenced by Peak Vata dosha.

On the other hand, the later we wake up up after Sunrise, we find ourselves in Peak Kapha territory. This makes us hit the snooze button, sleep some more and feel heavy and lazy.

Choosing the right abhyanga time: depends upon what you are trying to correct

By this time it should be obvious to you that depending upon what you are trying to fix, you should choose your abhyanga time. Each dosha peak time lasts around 4 hours. The beginning and ending times of this period are lighter times and times when one dosha is subtly morphing into the next one.

So at 5:55 am for example, Vata is subtly moving into Kapha territory. So BOTH doshas are at their weakest point.

But at 8:30 am, we are right in the middle of Kapha peak time where Kapha is at its strongest best. So if we have a Kapha prakriti, we will have the strongest disinclination to do an abhyanga at this period – we will be tempted to eat something, or sleep in and will try and dismiss the abhyanga to the next day. So the texts advise that we be aware of both this clock and our prakriti when we choose abhyanga times!

Choosing the correct Abhyanga time - The ayurvedic body clock

Difference between Peak & non-Peak Dosha period

Peak Kapha period

Having said the above, there is a difference between the peak Kapha time in the morning (6 am – 10 am) and the evening (6 pm – 10 pm). In the morning, the Kapha time is tempered by the energy of the rising Sun. Therefore, even though this is peak Kapha time, this period is considered nourishing and dhatu building in Ayurveda. This is why we can have a light breakfast or drink a glass of milk at this time. Due to influence of the sun, the digestion will be smooth and food will not sit in the system, unless we over-eat, do not chew well, or do not follow other ayurvedic eating rules, etc.

But the evening Kapha period does not have this advantage. As the Sun has already set, the evening Kapha period is much stronger in its scope. So if we over-eat, eat Kapha aggravating foods, etc, we will produce excess Ama in the body , put on stubborn weight, create a feeling of lassitude and heaviness in the body.

Although each dosha repeats itself twice during 24 hours, only one of these are very strong – we call these peak Dosha times.

Peak Pitta: 10 am – 2 pm (mid morning Pitta)
Peak Vata: 2 am – 6 am – (before sunrise Vata)
Peak Kapha – 6 pm – 10 pm (late evening & night Kapha)

Peak Pitta period

Peak Pitta is the morning Period between 10 am – 2 pm. Hence we are supposed to AVOID stepping out, getting into a strong Pitta flaring argument, over-eating spicy food , tamarind and curd and any sudden shocks to the system (like a bath, swimming, etc) which can interfere with Pitta building up in the system as is natural.

An Abhyanga at this time will NOT have the effects we want as Pitta is already building upto a crescendo in the system due to the Sun. Instead Abhyanga will interfere with Pitta building and douse the Pitta in the system suddenly if done at this time.So we should have bathed long before this phase has started.

The dead centre of this phase is best for digestion. Hence Ayurveda advises to have the largest meal of the day at this time, as the body has enough Pitta to digest food well.

Peak Vata period

Peak Vata period is 2 am – 6 am (early morning). Ayurveda says this is the time when brain activity has re-started so there are rapid eye movements in this stage. This is NOT the time of deep sleep. Instead the body is preparing to wake up having processed everything. So if we GO to sleep at this time (as is common among night shift employees), the body will feel tired, dissipated and restless as we have tried to sleep at the time when it wants to wake up.

Abhyanga to centre aggravated vata

An abhyanga is advised towards the end of this peak Vata period – around 5:30 am, just around sunrise. If we do it in the middle of this period (say around 4 am), there is too much Vata in the system for Abhyanga to re-set. Towards the end, if we catch the body when Vata is winding down and BEFORE Kapha increases, we will be energetic and be able to re-set aggravated Vata dosha.

We have tackled Vata prakriti and Kapha prakriti doing Abhyanga and what time they should choose. So what about Pitta prakriti?

Abhyanga to settle aggravated Pitta

As per the clock, it seems like we should be doing Abhyanga at 9:45 am! But by this time, we are supposed to have bathed and eaten breakfast, drunk our milk , etc. Abhyanga cannot be done unless atleast 2 hours have passed after last meal. This would bring our Abhyanga close to 11 am which is at the time Pitta is building up.

Hence for Pitta prakriti people, we choose the first hour after Sunrise. As the sun climbs, it becomes more and more uncomfortable for Pitta prakriti people. They may not have the resistance to physical work that Kapha prakriti people can have, so they need not stick to doing Abhyanga around Sunrise. But the later the wait, the more uncomfortable it will become for them, so we suggest 1 hour within Sunrise.

So to sum up:

This post described the ayurvedic body clock and explained how each peak and non peak dosha period allows our body time to re-pair and re-set itself. The post also explained the rationale behind choosing the correct abhyanga time for each kind of dosha aggravation.

  • For strong vata aggravation : The right abhyanga time is 30 minutes before Sunrise or just around Sunrise
  • For strong Kapha aggravation: The right abhyanga time is around Sunrise or within 30 minutes of Sunrise
  • For strong Pitta aggravation:  The right abhyanga time is within 1 hour of Sunrise – this can be stretched to slightly later if weather is not too hot

 

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How to use Rasnadi Churnam – a video guide

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One of the fears that people have when we recommend regular hair oiling for good hair growth is the fear of catching a cold. For those with high kapha aggravation or an existing sinusitis problem, this is a very real worry. The answer? Rasnadi Churnam – a safe , effective ayurvedic chooranam (powder) that retains warmth in the head, prevents mucous formation and helps clear blocked sinuses with regular use, safely and effectively.

Here is a short video we just shot for the Krya Product Support Group,  a facebook community, on how you can effectively use Rasnadi Churnam correctly & effectively.

Rasnadi Churnam is a classical ayurvedic formulation that has many uses. It can also be effectively used to control Migraine attacks which are Pitta based. For external application, Rasnadi Churnam is safe even to be used for small infants. For inhalation, we recommend that it be done only for 5 years and above. As a precautionary measure, pregnant women should NOT inhale Rasnadi Churnam – they can apply it on the scalp as demonstrated in the video.

The Krya Product Support Community is a Facebook community we created to help support the use of our products, share Ayurvedic guidelines for better skin and hair care and answer product usage doubts quickly. Do join us here.

Now for the video:

If you have any queries on our products, or would like our help choosing the right products, do write to us. 

 

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Dry & sensitive skin in babies: an ayurvedic perspective

Dry & sensitive skin in babies - how you can help using herbs and natural oils
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My baby has dry & sensitive skin – how can I help her / him? – this is a question we often receive at Krya.

Dry & Sensitive skin: an alarmingly common problem in babies

One in 5 children in under the age of 5 years in India suffers from eczema , also called atopic dermatitis. It often occurs quite early ,before the baby is two years old. Eczema is different from cradle cap and can occur on any part of the skin, though it often occurs on the cheeks, joints of the arms and the legs. It is characterized by red, dry & sensitive skin that is often itchy and rough. This skin reacts quickly and aggressively to any change in cosmetic products, detergent brand, and sometimes even water hardness.

Dry & Sensitive skin in babies: 1 in 5 children experience this today

Allopathic treatments for dry & sensitive skin: where the cure is worse than the disease

Of grave concern to parents today are the common allopathic treatments given for infant eczema – which are topical steroid creams and in severe cases , oral anti-histamines. Steroid creams act on the skin by shutting down the immune cell in the skin and thereby hoping to reduce the skin inflammation caused by the eczema. This gives a temporary relief to the itching and redness produced in dry & sensitive skin. However, as the effect wears off, which is in 8 hours or so, the itching starts, sometimes with an increased vigor.

Dry & Sensitive skin in abbies: topical creams suggested to control the skin condition may aggravate the situation

However the steroid cream approach is terribly flawed and there is NO evidence that they provide any cure for the disease. On the other hand there is plenty of evidence for a number of alarming side-effects of steroid usage.

Depending on the strength and frequency of steroid usage , these are the side-effects – steroid addiction/dependence, skin thinning and atrophy, breakdown of skin barrier allowing easy entry of pathogens, unusual hair growth on skin, proliferation of visible skin blood cells (so skin appears flushed and red without any cause), discoloration of skin due to poor melanin production etc.

Parents should rightly be very very wary of using steroid creams on their child’s skin.

Factors that determine whether your baby can develop dry & sensitive skin:

Babies are prone to dry & sensitive skin condition through genetic factors – like the parents’s prakriti and the time, season and place of conception . A baby with this genetic pre-disposition develops the actual skin condition due to a number of factors that can trigger the eczema. It is a condition that many times settles down as baby grows up. But we can control and eliminate baby’s discomfort, by preventing a number of modern day factors that contribute to this skin condition.

Dry & sensitive skin in babies: skin condition is influenced by many internal factors

To understand this skin condition better, we must first remember that the human skin is the host to a fantastic micro-ecosystem of microbes called the microbiome. The typical skin microbiome can contain around 1 trillion microorganisms, both helpful and pathogenic. This delicately balanced microbiome is vital to the healthy functioning of the skin – there is a clear difference in the micro-biome of healthy skin and the micro-biome of a person suffering from eczema.

A person builds the skin microbiome ( and the many other microbiomes in the body like the gut flora) over time , starting from the colony inherited from the mother during birth. So c-section babies and formula-fed babies will have a less diverse and different micro-biome from the babies that were born via a normal delivery and were breast-fed exclusively in their first few months. However these are large factors over which many mothers have little control after the event, so what can be done now ?

Building baby’s skin health: steps for concerned parents

This is why we introduced the concept of the skin micro-biome and its vital importance in maintaining healthy skin. The baby’s microbiome is intelligently built by the skin over hundreds of happy accidental acts everyday like contact with the parent , food intake , touching clothes, toys , books, the very air in the home, playing in the sand. So the best approach for a parent is to create an atmosphere that supports the creation of a healthy micro-biome.

Avoid creating an excessively sterile environment

The first step here is to avoid creating an excessively sterile environment – like the usage of a/c for long periods. Another common factor in a new baby household is the excessive use of anti-bacterial wipes and anti-bacterial hand-wash to prevent infections. An excessively sterile environment tends to reward disease causing micro organisms and encourages the growth of super bugs – a case in point is the super bug growth in hospitals across the world.

Dry & Sensitive skin in babies: avoid creating an excessively sterile environment

While the worry is understandable, these chemical sanitizing products are broad-spectrum and kill all bacteria – both good and bad. This creates a hyper-sterile environment, preventing the growth of a healthy microbiome and stunts the baby’s progress in building general immunity by interacting with the environment.

Avoid using bacteria killing and pH altering foaming synthetic soaps and petrochemical cosmetic lotions and creams :

All foaming baby soaps and body washes are harsh on baby’s skin and are broad-spectrum , killing all the bacteria on the skin. They also alter the skin’s pH , disturbing the delicate balance of the microbiome. Read more about what goes into a typical baby soap in our previous post. 

Dry & Sensitive skin in babies: avoid using soaps and synthetic foaming bodywash to cleanse baby's skin

Another common skincare mistake perpetrated by the baby cosmetic brands is the use of mineral oil based lotions and creams, after baby’s bath. This is flawed on 2 levels – one is the use of harmful petrochemical derived ingredients which cannot nourish the skin and also clog the fine channels.

The second error is the application of a oil or cream after the bath. This clogs the pores of skin and does not allow the Srotas of the skin to perform properly.  Hence when baby has dry and sensitive skin, using a petrochemical moisturiser will give skin temporary relief. With the passage of time, heat will build in skin surface and trigger higher itchiness and skin irritation causing baby a lot of discomfort.

Dry & Sensitive skin - clogging moisturisers can aggravate heat in baby's skin

The correct procedure as per Ayurveda is to massage the baby FIRST with a  good herb-infused vegetable oil and then give baby a bath with a herb & grain based cleanser. The pre-bath oil massage keeps skin soft, moisturized and supple.

These intelligent ,rakshogana herbs in the bath powder ( unlike a soap) cleanse baby’s skin gently, do NOT alter the pH, repair minor skin blemishes, kill pathogens and yet allows the healthy bacteria to function -thereby providing the ideal atmosphere for the skin microbiome to develop. You can read more about what goes into the Krya baby ubtans in our previous post here.

Dry & Sensitive skin in babies: intelligent rakshoghna herbs used in baby ubtans cleanse skin intelligently and protect it

The choice of pre-massage oil is very critical for baby’s skin health. Many parents mistakenly believe that pure coconut oil is the right oil to be applied to relieve dry and sensitive skin. Read more about why we DO NOT recommend this practice here. 

The microbiome of a baby is an important subject. we have an ongoing miniseries on the subject, of which the first part can be found here.

For a detailed step-by-step description of an ideal Ayurvedic baby care routine and how to maintain a healthy baby nursery , please read our previous blog post on this subject.  :

To sum up:

There are many internal causes for a baby developing dry & sensitive skin. We will explore some of these in our upcoming posts. However, this sudden rise in skin conditions like eczema, atopic dermatitis and other special skin conditions among babies whose parents have perfectly healthy skin is due to other, external, avoidable factors.

Our microbiome colony is what gives us immunity, good gut health, the ability to digest food and extract nutrients and keeps our skin healthy. It is presented to us as a gift from our maternal line – many of us may have remnants of microbiota which are thousands of years old, passed on from mother to mother, and finally to us.

Unfortunately, this generation old microbiota is in short supply for our babies today – mostly due to the fear driven, poor choices we are making as parents.

We hope this post helped you understand the link between dry & sensitive skin in babies and the effect of some of our cleaning and cosmetic choices. Our upcoming posts will delve more into the establishment of a healthy microbiome in baby and explore more on the subject of sensitive skin condition in baby.

Krya baby products for dry and sensitive skin in Baby:

  • Krya baby ubtans & bodywashes – made from organic or forest collected herbs, grains and lentils . Cleans thoroughly yet is extremely soothing and gentle on baby’s skin. Can be used everyday from the 1st day of baby’s birth.
  • Krya baby massage oils – made using authentic ayurvedic herbs, and organic cold pressed vegetable oils processed through a rigorous ayurvedic manufacturing process. Can be used from the time a baby is 1 week old
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Reduce Eye Strain with Ayurveda in Seven Steps

how ayurveda can help relieve eye fatigue and strain by Krya
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Our series this week discusses 5 common problems that urban dwellers face and what Ayurveda recommends should be done to mitigate these problems. A common problem we face today is Eye strain and fatigue due to over use of laptops, computers and electronic devices. Today’s post will explore how you can easily & visibly reduce eye strain with Ayurveda .

 

5 comoon urban problems

The first in our series is eye fatigue and strain caused by over use of the laptop or smartphone: Computer vision syndrome. 

Do you have Eye Fatigue?

Do you constantly feel eye fatigue? Do you develop headaches after a long bout at your computer? Are you seeing premature greying and hair dryness?  Do your eyes feel dry, scratchy and itchy? You could be experiencing computer vision syndrome / computer related eye strain.

Eye strain is a real and wide-spread problem today, which affects both kids and adults. For several hours every day, we stare at electronic screens across phones, tablet, TV and computers. So we are all affected to varying degrees.

Do you have eye strain & fatigue? You could be suffering from Computer Vision syndrome.

The symptoms are blurred vision, double vision, dry eyes, headaches, eye pain, neck strain, eye-irritation and eye watering. The factors that induce eye strain are the number of hours of screen-time, the size of the screen, the strength of your vision, light levels and posture.

Causes for Eye Strain as per Ayurveda :

It is astonishing that our ancient Ayurvedic texts are able to give us a rationale behind a seemingly modern problem. Acharya Sushruta tells us that all Netra Rogas (diseases of the eye), occur due to the following causes:

Imbalance of hot and cold ( Ushnabhitaptasya)

When the body heat is very high, there is a vasodilation of blood vessels to help excess heat to be transmitted outside. When this hot body steps into a cold environment, the dilated vessels suddenly have to constrict to ensure heat loss is minimal. When we constantly keep having this change in temperature, we over-work all blood vessels, including the ones in the eyes, leading to eye redness, weak muscles and poor circulation.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: hot-cold imbalance causes eye strain

Doorekshanat :

This is when we repeatedly strain the eye muscles to see far away objects or to see fine and small objects (Sookshma vision) – This distorts the vision, over accustoming the eye muscle to only one kind of work

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Repeatedly straining the eyes to read fine print increases eye strain

Krodha, Shoka & Bhaya (Anger, Grief and Fear) :

Emotional strain in difficult environments over aggravates the emotional qualities of Pitta and vata dosha. Krodha or anger activates Pitta dosha, and Shoka and Bhaya activates Vata dosha. The dosha aggravation strains the eye’s muscles.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Excessive anger, fear and grief increase eye strain.

Vega vinigraha (suppression of natural urges) :

In many office goers, we observe suppression of urges like urination – this is especially common among women. This leads to disturbance in Apana vayu and aggravates vata dosha throughout the body when it is carried out for a long time. The urge to sleep (nidra) and the urge to cry (Ashru) are both urges which should not be suppressed as per Ayurveda. Working well beyond our bed time, suppression strong emotional responses, and not blinking often to help the production of tears to moisten the eyes, worsen the health of our eyes and increase eye strain.

Vriddhi Ahara (incompatible food) :

Ushna and Amla ahara (salty, spicy and sour tastes) aggravate eye strain. All 3 tastes aggravate Pitta dosha which increase the Agni in the eye, causing high eye strain and watering.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Foods that are sour, salty & spicy aggravate Pitta Dosha. This in turn, increases eye strain.

Ratri Jagarati – (Night vigil) :

In the texts, the Acharyas mention that certain occupations which require Night vigil (Ratri jagrati) are more prone to eye strain like soldiers, guards, etc. Today, Ratri Jagrati has become a common feature in many urban homes. Due to late night working, late dinners, and late television watching, we are all prone to eye strain due to use of the eyes at the wrong time.

 

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Staying up late and night and delayed bed time can also aggravate eye strain.

 

Ayurveda says that a disease must be tackled from the “Hetu” or root cause. So also, eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome must be treated by examining the root causes listed above.

In addition, here are 7 Ayurvedic recommendations on how we can reduce / prevent eye fatigue below.

Reduce Eye Strain with Ayurveda in Seven easy ways:

Control the hot-cold imbalance 1 : Regular hair oiling to reduce Ushna

Keep the head cool and allow natural removal of excess ushna everyday through daily oil application. Remember, we encounter fresh stress everyday – so this fresh stress which aggravates pitta dosha must be tackled everyday by regular and frequent application of the right Ayurvedic hair oil. We have given recommendations for Krya hair oils below.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Regular hair oiling reduces eye strain and fatigue.

 

Control the hot-cold imbalance 2 – regulate the body temperature

Regulate the body temperature, especially if working in an air conditioned atmosphere. We often advise that you carry a light jacket / shawl to simulate the normal temperature outside your office. Request office admin to set temperatures between 24 – 26 degrees centigrade (this will also bring down electricity bills), and drink warming, non diuretic, and nourishing drinks in your office (so no tea, coffee, cola, cold fruit juices – instead warm water and a warm, natural spiced beverage is ideal).

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Keeping your body temperature steady and warm and avoiding hot-cold imbalance improves vision.

 

Alternate between “Sookshma” and far vision:

Use your complete range of eye vision – so if you are constantly on a computer, take a break every hour or so to gaze into the distance (preferably at trees or greenery). Reduce your “Night vigil” and work towards saner and more balanced work timings.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Take a break from repeated fine use of your eyes to gaze into the distance. This relieves eye strain.

 

Do not suppress natural urges:

Do NOT suppress natural urges like the urge to use the washroom, the urge to sleep or the urge to blink or yawn. If you are doing this often to appear polite and well mannered , you are setting up yourself for a serious range of eye diseases later on.

Suppressing the urge to visit the washroom tampers with “apana vayu” a sub set of vata dosha. This also sets up for more serious disorders related to the urinary and reproductive tract. So, when you gotta go, JUST GO!

 

Reduce screen glare and over-bright light :

Control the amount of bright light your eyes work in. Many computer and smartphone screens are said to highest level of brightness. This along with the bright, white office lighting and pale walls, re-create the sun even in your office.

This amount of light is fatiguing and drying to the eyes. Re-set screen brightness and switch off a few lights if the room is bright enough. But do remember too much light AND too little light both strain vision – experiment and arrive at optimal light for yourself.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Turn down your phone's screen brightness to reduce eye strain due to screen glare and blue light.

 

Re-set aggravated pitta and vata through regular abhyanga:

Balance aggravated pitta and vata through the body through regular abhyanga – a regular abhyanga helps dissipate aggravated vata and pitta dosha and moves it back to its original seat, thus bringing the body back to balance. We often see that people with high pitta aggravation experience profuse eye watering and release of hot vapour from their eyes when Abhyanga is done. This is a good indication both of how aggravated the dosha is and how powerfully the abhyanga works in restoring the body back to balance.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Regular Abhyanga Snana balances aggravated vata and pitta dosha, reducing eye strain and fatigue.

 

Practice Eye cooling measures:

Cool the agni in your eyes with the qualities of Soma (the moon). Overusing agni in the eyes leads to computer vision syndrome. Hence Ayurveda recommends increasing soma properties to the eyes. This can be done by doing the following:

Eating fresh, warm, nourishing foods:

Regulating Pitta dosha helps regulate Pitta aggravation in the eye. So addition of milk and ghee to the diet, using warming but not irritating spices like pepper, cumin and not red and green chillies, eating meals on time, and using cooling grains and vegetables like split mung, aged rice, and gourds all help in pitta regulation.

Night gazing:

Star and Moon gazing are prescribed Ayurvedic practices to infuse cooling, nourishing energies into the eyes. This also helps counteract the strain brought by close gazing

Electronic cut off time:

At Krya, we often recommend a strict cut off time in cases of aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Setting limits for smartphone and laptop usage go a long way in restoring health and harmony to the body.

Application of cooling substances like Ayurvedic Kajal to the eyes:

Many synthetic eye make up products increase Pitta dosha in the eyes. They also contain ingredients like lead and other suspect minerals and substances which are transdermally absorbed through the eyes. Ayurveda recommends using only a suitable herbal kaajal that strengthens vision and cools the eyes.

To conclude:

Modern choices come with many serious, dangerous fall outs, which we remain unaware off. The practice of using a cell phone is barely 20 years old in India. Apps are even more recent – 3 / 4 years old. However, we have already begun reaping the ill effects of over use of these conveniences.

Ayurveda is always immensely practical – the Acharyas are not strict or “Methodist” in their advice. They always recommend leading a life of balance for good health.

We hope our post helped you appreciate many of the deeper reasons behind Computer vision syndrome. We also hope you will go through and follow the Ayurvedic recommendations we have suggested to help you get the most out of your eyes.

Krya Hair Oils to reduce Eye fatigue :

  1. For very high Pitta aggravation – (premature greying, scalp dryness due to high heat, and hair thinning) – choose the Krya Vibrant hair colour hair oil
  2. For moderate – high Pitta aggravation – (premature greying, scalp dryness due to high heat, and hair thinning) – choose the Krya Classic hair oil
    1. Note : If in doubt whether your Pitta aggravation is moderate or severe, start with the Krya Classic hair oil . If after a month you do not see good progress, crank it up a notch with the Krya vibrant hair oil
  3. For Vata aggravation due to high stress (difficult work atmosphere, frequent air travel / travel, long commute, missed / skipped meals, difficulty sleeping, long working hours AND dry and falling hair ) – chose the Krya harmony hair oil
  4. For Vata aggravation due to moderate stress, inherently dry scalp, hair full of static, hair that breaks easily and forms split ends and is dull, rough – choose the Krya conditioning hair oil
  5. For Vata and Pitta aggravation due to excessive chemical treatments (lots of heat treatments, re-bonding, perming, straightening, twisting treatments, hair colouring) – Hair is dull, frizzy, difficult to manage, rough and straw like with very poor hair growth – choose the Krya Damage repair hair oil
  6. For Fungal dandruff (thick, yellow, flakes of dandruff with scalp thickening and itching) – choose the Krya Anti dandruff hair oil

Krya Abhyanga Products to reduce Eye Strain & Fatigue:

  1. For Women – Krya Women’s abhyanga system
  2. For Men – Krya Men’s abhyanga system
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5 Ayurvedic Resolutions for an Amazing 2018!

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

The twin goals of Ayurveda are Ayu (Long life) & Ayush (Good Health). Ayurveda is a practical science of everyday living and its principles pro-actively help you to prevent disease – which is obviously much better than trying to cure diseases.

Since Ayurveda is a vast ocean of concepts, principles and techniques, we have identified 5 very important concepts that are universal, easy to understand and will dramatically improve your life.

So here is our list of 5 important Ayurvedic concepts to help you create resolutions to have a great year in 2018

  1. Dinacharya (Daily Routine)

Ayurvedic Acharyas have identified that vital importance of a stable daily routine based on your biological clock, the season, your nature and of course the specific details of your life. The very act of a stable routine can bring balance to your life, improve physical health and mental clarity. A stable routine pacifies vata dosha, improves digestion, quality of sleep and brings peace and happiness. But there are specific rules to the Dinacharya – it is not random. In order to design a good Dinacharya for yourself, you must start by defining 2 points:

  • The time of waking up in the morning
  • The time of your last meal , i.e. dinner

Once you have defined these 2 points correctly, all the other activities will fall into place neatly. Using the concepts given later in this article, you can easily identify the good times to wake up and to eat your dinner.

In the morning, after waking up , Ayurveda recommends that you must allocate time for meditation or prayer, exercise, Abhyanga & Snana (bath) , breakfast followed by the work-day. Similarly in the evening, after finishing work you must allot time for winding down, dinner and an electronic screen cut-off time before sleep.

Designing your Dinacharya is easy but the hard part is actually sticking to it. It requires discipline and support from your family. There are no “cheat days” – so even on Sunday you have to wake up at the same time – since your biological clock does not have a weekend.

The benefits from a Dinacharya are numerous and they accrue with time. The chaotic nature of urban living will throw many activities that will push you off your Dinacharya – but if you actually have a written down routine and remember its importance, you can always return back to your routine.

So in these last days of 2017, you could take a pen and paper and craft your ideal day and resolve to stick to it in 2018.

2. Brahma Muhurta – the sacred time

Ayurveda emphatically instructs us to wake up during Brahma Muhurta, which is a sacred time. A muhurta a time span of 48 minutes and the Brahma Muhurta starts 96 minutes before Sunrise. So the exact time of Brahma Muhurta depends on the time of sunrise in your city. If sun-rise is at 6:30 AM, then Brahma Muhurta starts at 4:54 AM and ends at 5:42 AM and you SHOULD wake-up during this time.

Acharya Vagabhata’s textbook , Ashtanga Hridayam , has the following sloka, translated as :

“If you wake up at Brahma Muhurtham, you can protect and regain your health & enjoy a long life”.

blog post 5 - ease into the day

Our Ayurvedic teacher gave us a very lucid explanation for the benefits of waking up at Brahma Muhurta – he called this time a “Re-set time”. He explained that being awake, alert AND active during Brahma Muhurtha helped the entire system to expel Ama through various means like breath, sweat, urine and faeces.  Since it is linked to Sunrise, it automatically has a perfect synergy with the seasons. The very act of being awake at this precious time helps your body balance doshas and re-set back to health.

Apart from physical health, the Brahma Muhurta is the ideal time for meditation &  reflection as we can access the highly positive , sattvic, subtle energies from the Universe. As the sun-rises and the day begins, these energies are no longer available and this is why the 48 minutes Brahma Muhurta is so precious.

This is such a wonderful tool at our disposal – costs nothing and yet bestows priceless benefits.

3. Ghee – the sacred ingredient

When Ayurveda talks about ghee, only natural, hormone-free desi-cow ghee (A2) is the universally accepted standard. (other types like buffalo –ghee are well known but have special uses)

At the outset, this is NOT a discussion about the ethics of consuming animal products like ghee – the only consideration here is good health. You will have to decide for yourself whether it is morally acceptable for you to consumer animal products – but the startling reality for many is that the ethical considerations may have to give way to the over-whelming health.

12.ghee for all ages

I speak from personal experience of leading a 100% vegan-life for 4 years – so in that time, I completely stopped eating all dairy products like milk, ghee and curd. I went vegan only to uphold the principle of Ahimsa – to avoid products from a factory-farming system built on extreme cruelty to cows & buffaloes.

In the first year of the vegan life, there were no problems whatsoever, possibly because my body had reserves from 30 + years of consuming ghee – but small problems started appearing in Year 2, which then took a disastrous turn in Year 3. I experienced alarming loss of weight, irritability, rage,  dry skin, cracked bleeding heels, chipped teeth, blinding pain in the knees and lower back – a condition called as “Vata Raktam” in Ayurveda.

After I endured this torture for nearly a year as a vegan, I was severely reprimanded by our Ayurvedic teacher for neglecting this serious disease. Her simple remedy was this – eat massive amounts of cow ghee for a few months & then continue at normal levels – but DO not try to lead a life without ghee. In just 2 months I experienced a magical reversal in my condition , ONLY with the addition of ghee back in my diet. To minimize the moral conflict, I sourced ghee from a  free-range, hormone –free, from organic farms where the cows were cared for by the farmer.

I understand that this example is specific to my body type and my life – but the important lesson that I want to leave you with here is this – If you want to understand the real importance of ghee , please take an opinion ONLY from a good Ayurvedic doctor. Do NOT depend on the internet or what your friend told you about ghee & cholesterol or ghee & diabetes etc. Ayurveda is the only system that has really understood the sacred role of ghee in our diet and its far-reaching impact.

Dr Janardana Hebbar , a leading Ayurvedic doctor says this “Ghee is probably the most sacred, spiritual and physically health benefiting substances that is ever known to human beings “

In 2018, please examine carefully the type & quantity of ghee in your diet , get an Ayurvedic opinion and you may observe magical changes to your health.

  1. Make friends with Ayurvedic oils

One of the Sanskrit words for oil is “Sneha” which also means love. This should give you a good idea of how important oils are to human health.

A healthy home should have the following oils ( apart from ghee)

  • Coconut based hair oil
  • Sesame based Abhyanga/Skin Oil
  • Cold-Pressed Sesame Oil & Castor Oil

(Note: Mustard oil is also an excellent oil, but only a small portion of the population can handle its pungent nature)

10. oil application

The benefits when you cook with cold-pressed oils are obvious. But beyond consumption, a healthy home must regularly apply a coconut-based hair oil for the hair and sesame based skin oil on the body for Abhyanga Snana. Finally both castor oil & sesame oil can be applied externally and internally to treat a number of simple ailments – since this requires more explanation , we will write about this in a separate newsletter.

So take a close-look at the oils in your home – avoid the RBD oils and choose native, cold-pressed oils for good health. I will refer to appropriate ancient Tamil proverb here, which is “ Vaidyarukku kudukaradu Vanniyarukku Kudu” –translated as : If you spend money buying oils,  you will not be spending money on  doctors and medicines.

5. Eat with the Sun

Our final recommendation for 2018 is : Eat with the Sun

The movement of the sun during the day controls the pitta prakriti in nature, which in turn in  human beings is the driving force behind appetite and digestion. This is the origin of the Ayurvedic term “digestive fire”. When you eat with the Sun, you automatically give your body the best chance for digestion, assimilation and elimination. So breakfast should be had before 9 AM, lunch, which is the biggest meal should be had from 12 Noon – 1 PM and the last meal of the day dinner should ideally be had around Sunset, if not, latest by 8 PM. This is an ideal time-schedule when followed, supports good assimilation of nutrients and at night , gives enough time to digest the last meal , thereby promoting sound sleep.  Like all of the earlier concepts, eating with the sun is also very easy to understand and implement yet is very profound in its impact on your health.

Appendix: How to identify & source the above mentioned ingredients

  • Ayurvedic Ghee: AVOID regular mass brands. Look for a brand with words like desi, native Indian cow breed (with hump), A2, free-range, organic, hormone-free, Vedic.
  • Sesame & Castor Oils : AVOID regular refined, chemically – extracted oils. Look for a brand with words like organic, cold-pressed & native process.
  • Ayurvedic Skin & Hair oils : Look for Krya !     (http://krya.in/index.php/shop/skincare.html)

We sincerely wish that our Top-5 Ayurvedic concepts inspire you to make 2018 your best year ever!

 

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Eating for Good Health – An Ayurvedic Perspective : Part 1

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

I am often asked what Ayurveda prescribes as a healthy diet. I hesitate to write down a fixed diet plan for many reasons: there are many diet fads these days which have become accepted as healthy diets (for example the vegan diet, keto diet, millets diet, etc). Most of this is contrarian to the principles espoused in the texts.

1. universally healthy

The second is that Ayurveda is the ultimate customised medicine. The texts opine that health, regimen and medicine should all be customised to the individual, and what works for one individual is especially unique to him / her. Therefore, what works for you is a customised blend of your food culture, what you are used to your prakriti, and where you live.

2. customised approach
The third is a very interesting reason: Ayurveda recognises the importance of “patterns and habits” in the way we eat, behave and live. The Acharyas tell us that even a great diet. Or a set of behaviours considered universally healthy cannot be suddenly introduced to the system, as the system, which has reached a sense of balance with whatever it is doing, will rebel in shock. So for someone who has persisted on a diet of fried bacon, bread and no vegetables, cannot be suddenly asked to substitute fish for fried bacon and introduced to a whole lot of vegetables. The Acharyas tell us that for the system that has been used to food which we consider unhealthy will react to healthy food (if introduced suddenly) like it would react to poison!

3. gradual is better

Obviously our notion of what is healthy food ad not healthy food will have to vary by region, season and availability of food. So if you live in a dry, hot desert I cannot tell you to eat broccoli all the time, despite the fact that it is considered a nutritional superfood.

 

So rather than speak about specific foods to eat, we focus our posts on how to eat. We saw a post this week on eight Ayurvedic eating techniques, and how chewing food well, eating on time, eating when hungry, etc are timeless principles of healthy living. We saw how even the right foods eaten wrongly can cause distress to the body.

 

Speaking further on foods to eat, here is our 2 part series on Ayurvedic eating for good health. Again, these posts are in the form of eating principles, and cover aspects of eating like ethical diets (vegan / vegetarian), eating timings etc. These are atleast as important as what you eat, so do read on.

 

As with all new information, please read this with an open mind. The science of Ayurveda has evolved over thousands of years and is extremely sophisticated in its understanding of both food and its effect on human beings. Many of the things I have written down may seem contrarian to what we believe in now – but the system has survived and thrived for thousands of years

  1. Timing is everything (in health, food & life)

The time of eating is at least as important as what you eat and depending upon your body’s condition, it is sometimes more important than what you eat.

Every organ system is said to have a particular time to cleanse itself and do necessary repairs. For example, the liver, the seat of pitta in our body, cleanses itself around midnight. Cleansing of organ systems occurs ONLY after digestion is through, nutrients have been extracted and toxins have been removed from the body. So if you are eating dinner at 11 pm, your organ systems will NOT cleanse themselves, and will wait until the next available time slot to do so. Which means your body will feel dull and sluggish the next morning (especially if you are consistently eating late).

This does not mean you can get away with eating junk food like a burger everyday at 7 pm for dinner. Do read point 2.

This is corroborated by many systems of traditional medicine. TCM opines that the window to eat breakfast is between 7 am – 9 am. When you consistently eat breakfast after this window, your chi energy or stomach fire energy gets weak and dampened. This in TCM is said to lead to digestive disorders, high production of gas in the system and an inability to digest foods leading to a high accumulation of toxins.

4.damp agni

 

  1. Ideal food is local, freshly cooked, lightly spiced and eaten warm. No spoiled food should be eaten. And no food should be stored, re-heated and eaten.

Ayurveda frowns upon the wonders of modern food preservation. In fact, the Charaka Samhita specifically says that for good health one should not eat too much of pickles, traditional papads or even traditionally salted and preserved vegetables (like vadagam and vathal).These references are to HOME MADE preserved vegetables, lentils and fruits. So this definitely rules OUT eating preserved, commercially processed foods like biscuits, sauces, etc which have a shelf life of 1 year or more (so most of the time we are eating stuff that has been made at-least 6 months ago in a factory and would contain several harmful chemical preservatives).
5. processed food
Local in Ayurveda means something that not only grows naturally within 100 miles of where you live. It also means eating foods you and your digestive system are accustomed to. So if you have grown up eating rice, rice will suit your system the most. Not quinoa. And not even millets. Any new food must be slowly introduced to your digestive system. (This does not take away from your responsibility of sourcing high quality food. Most of us grew up eating untainted, pesticide-free food – so this naturally means you should source the same now. And not just buy the first available pesticide sprayed pack of rice you find in the supermarket).

6. local food
The point about spoiled food is an interesting nuance and goes to our food culture. For example cheese eating is not a practice that is universal to many parts of India. It is usually common only in cold and hilly regions. In hot and humid regions, fermenting a dairy based food will quickly lead to rot, mildew and fungus. However the same food is very well preserved in a cold, hilly region.

Cheese, especially aged cheese, tends to be very salty, sharp and concentrated. In Ayurveda, this has all the makings of a pitta food group. So it makes sense to eat this food, if it is eaten traditionally, in a cold, hilly region where the atmosphere is low in pitta dosha. The pitta in the food is welcome to stimulate digestion.

7.cheese

However in a hot, humid city like Chennai or Hyderabad, where the atmosphere is full of Pitta, the pitta dosha from the cheese would over stimulate pitta dosha. Which is probably why in practice, it does not form a part of traditional food.

If you live in the city of your childhood, it is probably best to stick to your traditional food practice. If you live in a foreign city, it is still better to stock to your traditional food unless the weather and climate is dramatically different from what you are used to. If you are living in an utterly foreign land, it makes sense to slowly acclimatise and add foods and eating practices local to where you live, while continuing to eat traditionally most of the time.

 

  1. An ideal food for you is something that is digested quickly by you and puts the least amount of stress on your digestive system. This can differ from person to person.

Ayurveda believes the more effort the body has to take in digesting your food, the more energy is diverted away from your organ systems. Also, depending upon your state of health, if your food is difficult to digest, there is a possibility that your body will not complete the job of digestion within the allotted time. The longer your food sits in your body without being processed, the more poisonous it becomes to your body.

8.putrefecation

 

Food that is undigested and sits around in your body becomes “Ama” or undigested waste + toxin. Ama prevents the healthy functioning of your organ systems and leads to faster aging and illness. Ama can accumulate across every organ system, but is linked primarily to an improperly functioning digestive system, brought on by eating improper food.

Now how your digestive system will respond to your food group is completely unique. Some of us can easily digest fried food, and can eat copious quantities of this without losing sleep or productivity. Others are extremely sensitive to certain food groups: a single Chinese meal can set us back by 2 – 3 days when we feel dull and sluggish.

9.digestive ability
These digestion patterns tend to change as we age, and by season. They also change when we are under a high amount of stress. So it is important to listen carefully to your body and develop a sense of what works for you. Limit food experimentation to a window where you can take the consequences, and always plan for “cheat” or “treat” days.

  1. Many foods we think are healthy and should be eaten in copious quantities are considered unhealthy in Ayurveda

Many foods that we now consider healthy and are eating a lot of are considered difficult to digest in Ayurveda or are considered unbalanced as they are very high in one particular dosha: these include raw vegetables (yes salads!), raw sprouts, millets, brown rice or cereals with a high amount of husk on them, fermented foods like idly and dosa, cheese, curd, milkshakes. These must be eaten with the proper preparation and caution and at times when the body is capable of digesting them.

Example 1: Fermented foods like idly and dosa are considered high in pitta as they are sour foods. Eating them every day for breakfast will mean your pitta will increase. It is important to balance them with something like a coconut based dish as coconut is both cooling (and high in kapha) and will balance the pitta in the idly / dosa. (Please note that this does not apply if you spike your coconut chutney with an impossibly high amount of green chillies). Eating a fermented food with another pitta heavy dish like a Sambhar high in tamarind or acidic tomato based chutney will not be balanced.

10.idly

 

In this there is obviously a gradation. Freshly fermented idlis are lower in pitta dosha than 3 day old batter. Batter made at home is obviously superior to something bought from outside, because we can guarantee that no other additives like baking soda have been added. Idlis eaten in cold winter season are better for the body compared to idlis eaten in summer.

 

This is because in winter, the heat of the Idlis through Pitta dosha is opposite to the cold produced by the winter – so the load on the body is less. But an idly eaten is summer is far more stimulating to Pitta dosha.

 

When you are suffering from an intense imbalance of Pitta dosha, eating an idly everyday for breakfast can throw you out of gear and is not advisable.  The key, as always is finding balance.

 

Example 2: Raw foods are considered “lekhaniya” (scraping quality), and depending upon what kind of raw foods we are describing, they may be “rooksha” (dry), rough, and “guru” or difficult to digest.

 

An example of a “guru” raw food is raw beetroot. An example of a “rooksha” and “guru” raw food are raw sprouts. From a western, raw food perspective, eating raw food is considered healthy as we get access to many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are destroyed when cooking. So eating the raw food as a juice, smoothie or as a salad is considered health boosting.

11.raw
Ayurveda however says that the process of digesting this raw food dampens or weakens Agni, hence this food is not properly digested (especially when consumed in quantities that are much higher than what we are used to). So despite eating healthy foods, we could be increasing the ama in our body as the act of digesting this healthy food has weakened Agni.

 

Seasonal fruits and fruit juices are not necessarily a part of this list. But even here, temperance is advised – you cannot suddenly force the body to eat, digest properly and assimilate a very large quantity of fruit juice of fruit salad. Depending upon your constitution this can aggravate Agni, leading to diarrhoea, or leave you feeling sluggish and listless.

12.fruits
Example 3: Millets are now extremely popular across South India as a healthy replacement to rice. Ayurveda however considers many Millets as dry and difficult to digest, which makes sense as they are traditionally dry land crop. Substituting rice completely with Millets will mean that your vata dosha will increase. This is welcome if you have a health condition like diabetes where kapha dosha is high – so here the vata of the Millets will balance excess Kapha. In fact, millet is prescribed in diabetes for just this reason instead of rice. But if you have no such health conditions and have decided to substitute rice completely with Millets, you will be drying out your body, especially if you do this very suddenly.

13.millets
The benefits of Millets must of course be experienced by you. But this should form a part of your experimentative 10% and must be prepared using the correct format and in doses where your body does not rebel or where other symptoms like aggravated vata dosha develop.

 

Here are some of the ways you can experiment with Millets:

Changing the format of the cereal changes how your body digests it – In millets, flour is easier to digest as you have broken down the cereal physically and are not depending upon your digestive system to do this job. So if you would like to introduce Millets into your diet, perhaps Millet flour is a better first step instead of the millet grains.

13.millet flour
The timing of eating is everything, especially for a difficult to digest food. Noon time, when the sun is at its peak, is considered the time when your digestive system is the strongest. So this is the time your body can handle the rigors of digesting a difficult to digest food. Like millets. OR Quinoa. (After preparing it properly).

14.lunch
This list which I have compiled is by no means complete or a prescription in itself. This merely represents a starting point to think about your diet and your health. As with everything, your body and your health are unique and what works for you is something you will have to evolve with time and experimentation.

Part 2 of this post will tackle more of what Ayurveda says about food. In the meantime, do remember, there are no shortcuts to good health and good looking skin and hair. It is built meal by meal, and choice by choice.


Krya’s range of skin care products for pitta prone, normal to oily skin can be found here. Our skin range for vata prone, normal to dry skin can be found here. Our anti acne skin care products can be found here.   Apart from this, we have a range of products for Sensitive Skin (skin that is eczema, dermatitis & psoriasis prone) and for Sun Tanned skin . We also have a large range of Abhyanga-Snana products. 

9-ubtan

Our products are inspired by Ayurveda. completely natural, toxin free and extremely effective. If you would like help choosing the right Krya product for your skin, please call us (075500-89090) or write to us.


 

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Krya Hair 101 series – 4 principles of Mindful eating

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ayurveda believes that the food we eat literally makes up every part of our body. Every organ system is formed by metabolising of the food we eat and assimilating the nutrients from the metabolised food. Ayurveda divides the body into seven layers (and organ systems) of increasing complexity. Each succeeding layer is formed after the previous layer has absorbed the nutrients required from the food. So if our food is poor in quality, then it stands to reason that our more complex and nuanced inner systems will not be healthy as the existing nutrients have already been used up for the outer layers of the body.

So for example, the reproductive seed, “Shukra” is the very last and most nuanced layer in the body. This layer derives its nutrients after the formation of skin, scalp, hair, blood, lymph, flesh, and bone. So if your basic diet is poor in quality, then the Shukra (quality of sperm and ovum) will also be poor in quality as there is not enough nutrients left in the food after feeding all the previous organ systems.

Hair and nails in Ayurveda is closely linked to “asthi” or the bone system. It is believed that the same components of Asthi also go to make up the nails and hair. So weak and damaged hair could go hand in hand with brittle nails which could go hand in hand with weak bones.

If your hair or skin lacks life, is generally weak and does not grow well, we must always look at the quality of nourishment you are getting and how well it is being assimilated in your body. For today’s post, here are 4 principles of mindful eating that we would like to share from Ayurveda. These are principles that can be followed by all healthy people. If you have a specific condition, are pregnant, or are recovering from an illness, these principles may need to be tweaked individually for you.

  1. Eat at the right time.
    1. The process of digestion and assimilation is governed by the forces of Agni. Agni is strongly correlated to the movement of the Sun.
    2. Therefore the largest meal of your day should be lunch, which should be as close to the midday sun as possible.
    3. Dinner should be had as close to Sunset as possible. 8:30 pm is the very latest anyone should be eating. 7:00 -7:30 pm is ideal. This meal should be the smallest meal of the day.
    4. Breakfast is had ideally between 8 am – 9 am. This is the time when the digestive enzymes are availble for food processing as well. The next time they activate is around noon.
  2. Eat less than your complete capacity. Leave a little room for the food to be further processed.
    1. Your stomach is approximately the size of your closed fist. While it is a muscle that can expand. If you fill your stomach with food that is much beyond its capacity, it will leave you dull and full of toxins.
    2. Ayurveda says that after food enters the stomach, it is further processed by the forces of Agni, Vayu and Prithvi. So watery secretions, fiery enzymes, and air will move through the food churning and digesting it. If you have eaten to the fullest, there is no physical space for any of these substances to work on the food. So always eat slightly less than your capacity (10 – 20% less). How much space you leave should be arrived at by you after experimentation.
  3. Chew your food well.
    1. Most of us gulp near solid food sending unbroken food to the stomach.
    2. The texts say that Digestion ends in the stomach. It begins in your mouth.
    3. The enzymes secreted by your saliva begin breaking down food in your mouth and partially break down your food before it reaches your stomach. The stomach is actually supposed to receive watery partially digested slurry of food. When we chew less and swallow food quickly, we are sending a mass of food that puts a great strain on the stomach. Therefore digestion takes longer than it should and the food we eat ferments and starts generating toxins instead of nourishing us.
    4. When you chew your food well, you prevent excessive weight gain, ensure higher nutrient assimilation, reduce the strain on your system, and reduce toxin build up in the body.
    5. When we chew our food properly, we are surprised to see how much less we eat, and how much food our system actually requires to feel satiated.
  4. Eat mindfully, in silence, concentrating on the food.
    1. To eat on time, eat the right quantity and chew well, we would need to eat in silence, having taking time out to eat.
    2. We would also need to give ourselves time, savour our food and practice mindfulness.
    3. This is the best thing you can do to nourish your body, and ensure that you feed it well with prana and nutrients.
    4. When you eat mindfully, you will always choose fresher food that is good for you.
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3 Hair Oil Hacks to prevent Bad Hair Days

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Oiling of the skin and scalp is a uniquely Ayurvedic practice that has been suggested for thousands of years in India to balance vata dosha in the body, to remove excess Pitta in the hair, calm and soothe the brain, improve and aid the working of the eyes, and keep both hair and skin in good working condition. Oiling for Keshya (hair) and Oiling and Massage of body (Abhyanga) form 2 very important Ayurvedic daily health routines (Dinacharya) to help the body stay in a state of balance.

1. hair oiling in ayurveda

You may be surprised at the use of the word “Dina” or daily when it comes to hair oiling. Many of us have now completely stopped hair oiling and can only remember daily oiling as a much hated childhood practice. However, daily hair oiling is considered a must in Ayurveda to maintain not just the strength and colour of the hair, but also aid the working of the brain and the eyes.

 

The Charaka Samhita 5th Sutrasthana deals with matters of diet, digestion, Dinacharya (daily routine), hair oiling, abhyanga, oral hygiene, etc.  As we have discussed before, the speciality of Ayurveda is its emphasis not just on disease management, but also on preventive health care. The various Acharyas have emphasised that by following the right diet (pathya) and the right daily routine (Dinacharya), we can avoid or treat almost 85% of all diseases in the early stage itself. Only the balance 15% diseases require the intervention of a specialised doctor or medicines.

 

The shloka on hair oiling in this chapter describes the benefits of hair oiling thus:

“One who applies taila on his head everyday does not suffer from a headache, balding, greying of hair, or hair fall. Regular hair oiling strengthens the skull, hair becomes firm and deep rooted, and grows long and black. The sense organs are in good health, there is sound sleep and the face radiates with tejas”.

 

It is interesting to note the use of the phrase “one does suffer from hair greying”. This means that the hair stays black well past an acceptable age with hair oiling. This is observed anecdotally by most of us who remember our grandparents or great grandparents greying much later than what we have experienced. (In our family, we have seen portraits of our ancestors with mildly grey hair well into their seventies, without the use of any hair dyes.)

 

A very important reason to oil your hair is to improve your eye sight and vision according to Ayurveda.  Of all the 5 Pancha Mahabutha (5 great elements), the element of Fire provides vision in the eye. This element of Fire is cushioned in a layer of fat present in the eye. Similarly the brain is fired by the workings of the neurons which generate electricity and heat in the brain. The brain is also made up largely of fat.

2.protects vision

The key to maintain the workings of both the Eyes and the Brain is to cool the organs so that the layer of the fat remains stable and is not liquefied due to high heat. This is why the practice of hair oiling helps channelize excess heat generated out of the body so that brain and eye are maintained at the right temperature.

 

How do we incorporate oiling to protect our hair in 3 common situations? This post will give you suggestions on this.

 

Step 1: Understand your hair.

Our hair is unique to our prakriti (constitution) which is itself born out of the combination of the 3 doshas in our body. So our hair colour, length, thickness, etc, is all special to us.

 

Fine hair:

Some of us have fine hair which is silky and the strand thickness is low. This kind of hair tends to get oily very quickly , and look “flat” when a lot of oil is applied. This kind of hair usually goes with a normal – oily scalp.

If nourished well, this hair usually tends to grow long, is silky and glossy. If this hair is left un-oiled, and washed frequently, it tends to need very frequent washing, starts to thin, and becomes finer in texture , tangling and breaking easily.

3. fine oily hair

This kind of hair needs regular oiling with a small amount of oil, and the use of a mild cleansing hairwash that does not aggravate the sebaceous glands and increase sebum production.

Krya product recommendation: Krya Classic hair nourishing system

 4. krya classic hair products

 

Thick hair:

Some of us have very thick hair that tends to be curly or wavy. This kind of hair can take in a lot of oil, and if left un-nourished, the scalp and hair can get very dry. If left un-oiled, this hair can get very frizzy, form split ends and tangle and break easily.

If nourished well, this hair tends to be full, thick, and voluminous.

5. thick curly hair

This hair requires regular oiling and washing with an extremely gentle and mild hairwash product. The use of a nourishing mask occasionally also helps.

Krya product recommendation: Krya Extra Conditioning hair hydrating system

 6. krya conditioning system

 

Dandruff:

If your scalp has stubborn dandruff, then oiling with bitter herbs can greatly reduce the appearance of dandruff and prevent its spreading. However, in this condition, regular hair oil , especially plain coconut oil, meant for hair growth should not be used as it can increase the dandruff and trigger its spread.

 

This kind of hair will see scalp that is itchy or flaking, with prominent visible creamy or yellowish looking flakes. When the dandruff spreads, the hair associated with the flakes becomes weak rooted and falls. A temporary relief is brought on when hair is washed which subsides in a day or two and re-starts the itchiness.

Krya product recommendation: Krya anti dandruff hair system

7. krya antidandruff system

 

Chemically damaged hair:

Chemically damaged hair is usually highly porous due to breaks in the cuticular structure with poor / inadequate production of sebum. The scalp is usually heat or chemically damaged as well and can often have an itching / burning sensation especially if synthetic hair colour is frequently used.

This kind of hair is unable to absorb heavy oils, and needs a lighter, and easier to absorb hair oil with hair repairing and restorative herbs. This hair usually displays the symptoms of both dry and chemically damaged hair: so the hair is frizzy, untameable, tangles easily, breaks easily on combing, and breaks in the presence of water due to its porous nature. Hair growth is usually extremely slow and premature greying also tends to be high.

8. oiling for damaged hair

Chemically damaged hair should be weaned away completely from synthetic hair colours, heat based straightening, blow drying or any form of chemical or heat treatment. It should be washed less frequently than other kinds of hair and should be oiled regularly with moderate amounts of restorative hair oil.

Krya product recommendation: Krya damage repair hair revitalising system

 9.damage repair hair system

 

Hair that has been damaged by Illness and long term medication:

Hair damage and hair loss can also occur due to long term illnesses, ailments like PCOD and PCOS, hormone treatments, IUI, fertility treatments, PCOD and PCOS, use of birth control pills, etc. Here we see hair is much weakened where it is shallow rooted and easily falls on washing, brushing or combing. Depending on the nature of the illness, we can also see other issues like male pattern baldness, hair thinning, extremely slow or impaired growth, etc.

 

Illness damaged hair should be weaned completely away from synthetics. It should be oiled with minimal amount of oil in a very gentle manner, frequently (4 – 5 times a week). The hair should be washed very infrequently and special care should be taken to ensure a healthy lifestyle and diet is being followed. Dincharyas like the Abhyanga help enormously.

 

Krya product recommendation: Krya intense hairfall growth promoting system with additional supplementation of the Krya Classic hair oil or the Krya Conditioning hair oil depending upon dosha imbalance

10. krya intense hair system

 

Hair oiling for hair protection:

Water and Air dry out hair by removing its protective layer of oils. So hair must be well coated with oil if it is going to be subjected to high amounts of water or air.

So if you sit in an air conditioned office, drive a bike, have a long commute in the car or plan to wash your hair, your hair needs to be oiled in advance to protect the hair strands.

 

Oiling to protect hair during washing:

This means that before you wash your hair you must oil the strands and scalp thoroughly and generously until there is a thin coating of oil on the hair. So when your hair is washed, the shampoo removes this external coating of oil, leaving your sebum intact. When this is done, the sebum moves through the hair strands sealing cracks in the cuticular structure, strengthen the hair, prevent split ends and add shine and gloss to hair.

11.oiling before washing

To sum up: If you plan to wash your hair, oil your hair and scalp generously with a good amount of the appropriate hair oil. The hair and scalp should glisten with enough excess oil, so that the hairwash only works on removing this excess oil from the hair and scalp.

 

 

Oiling to protect hair from the AC

If you are constantly in an air conditioned environment, apply a light coating of oil to the hair strands ensuring the oil seals the hair from the cold and drying air emitted by the AC. You can also additionally add a physical barrier to your hair by wrapping it in a scarf.

 

Ensure you stay hydrated in an air conditioned environment by drinking water whenever thirsty and avoid drying and water removing drinks like tea, coffee, artificial fruit juices and colas.

12.hair oiling for cold

To sum up: If you are in an air conditioned office / air conditioned environment most of the time, ensure you are hydrated internally by drinking adequate amounts of water and avoid water depleting drinks. Seal your hair from the cold and drying wind by oiling it lightly with the appropriate oil. A scarf / bandana also help if you are under a direct blast of cold air.

 

 

Oiling to protect hair and scalp from high heat, dust and wind:

If you are constantly on a bike or a train or are driving long distances, you may have to deal with dust and wind in addition to a Car A.C. This again sucks moisture from hair and sometimes heats the whole body, drying up hair. Constant exposure to heat, dust and external wind can change colour of hair to a reddish brown, thin it and aggravate premature greying.

The hair needs protection from these external elements and a physical barrier like a scarf or a bandana is recommended to completely wrap and protect hair. In addition, mild oiling of the hair strands and oiling of the scalp helps continuously remove accumulated heat to ensure your pitta dosha is not imbalanced. A regular abhyanga is also strongly recommended every week to bring down accumulated dosha imbalance.

13.hair oiling pollution

To sum up: If you are commuting every day, please oil your hair and scalp everyday or atleast thrice a week with small amounts of the right oil. Also invest in a scarf or a bandana to thoroughly wrap and cover your hair.

 

In our next post, we will look why hair oiling helps nourish the scalp and why it supports hair growth and also the right technique for hair oiling to promote hair growth.

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